1918 Graduation, Miami High School

Miami Social Activities

Cover from the 1918 MHS graduation program

In 1918, there was a war on. The US had joined in on The Great war in 1917, and belts were tightened. Thus, there’s no annual or class picture of the 1918 graduating class.

Page 1, 1918 MHS graduation program

Miami High School, 1917. Thanks to Fredas Cook for the image

The 1917 high school is depicted above, from the Miami Record-Herald.

Page 2, MHS graduation program, 1918

Page 3, MHS graduation program, 1918

Page 4, MHS Graduation program, 1918

There are many familiar names here in the Miami business community. Sons and daughters of manufacturers, barbers, mining magnates, miners, and merchants. Many of these would go on to become familiar Miami names themselves.

Notes on 1918 MHS graduation festivities the day prior to actual graduation

The 1918 seniors went out into a world that would see a 1920’s boom, a 1929 depression, and a 1941 entry into a world conflict. They would see the mining industry play itself out, they would help Miami reinvent itself as a manufacturing center, and they would set their descendants on a course of helping Miami adopt to even more challenging situations in the future. The Miami spirit is indomitable.

Miami’s Teen Town

Miami Social Activities

What to do with all of those teenagers on a Friday night? Miami decided right after the end of WWII to provide some city-sanctioned entertainment and recreation. It was called Teen Town, and it started off at the Sacred Heart Catholic church. But by 1947, it had relocated to the VFW Hall across the street from the Coleman.

Teen Town starts up at the VFW hall, June 22, 1947

The next year, the American legion volunteered to host the Friday night fun.

American Legion to host Teen Town in 1948

By 1956, the event had turned into the most popular place for a kid to be on a Friday night. They needed more adult volunteers!

Teen Town issues a call for volunteers, 1956

The first mention of a live band in the News-Record was on October 12, 1956.

A live band at Teen Town! October, 1956

There were dance competitions, including this one from 1959.

Richard Wright and Helen Swift win 1959 Sweetheart Couple at Teen Town

In 1957, the Youth Center at the new Civic Center was rechristened the Mutt Hut. Eventually, Teen Town at the American Legion hall would move over to the Mutt Hut as a fun teen spot on both Friday and Saturday nights. Teen Town stopped being mentioned in the paper after 1960, so presumably that was the end of it. But the Mutt Hut continued on, and thus Miami had a proud reputation as a town that looked after the recreational needs of its youth.

Professional Baseball in Miami

Miami Social Activities

Once upon a time, before free agency changed everything, towns the size of Miami in the 40’s (9,000 or so) rated their own minor league baseball teams. Back in the day, teams had hundreds of players signed to contracts in minor league tiers that stretched from AAA (the top) to class D (the bottom).

Miami was no exception.Way back in 1921, they fielded the Miami Indians in the Southwestern League.

In 1946, the Kansas-Oklahoma-Missouri League was formed. The KOM League was a collection of D-class teams. The Brooklyn Dodgers announced that the Miami Blues would be their affiliate.

February 15, 1946 article announcing a new local professional baseball league

The team was seeking talent in the spring, signing local players, including miner Lefty Loyd, who pitched for Eagle-Picher’s amateur team. He had a wicked left-handed hook. Sadly, it wasn’t to be, Loyd had left the area. Owner Ted Vernon mailed him a contract, but it was never accepted.

The opening home game was on April 30, 1946. Here’s an advertisement from Mac’s Cafe suggesting that the establishment would be an appropriate spot to meet after the game.

Here are the final 1946 records of the participating teams:

Chanute Owls Topeka, Kansas Owls 68-53
Miami Blues Brooklyn Dodgers 69-54
Iola Cubs Chicago Cubs 63-57
Pittsburg Browns St. Louis Browns 61-59
Carthage Cardinals St. Louis Cardinals 54-66
Bartlesville Oilers Pittsburgh Pirates 47-73

The next year, the team was renamed the Owls. That’s because of a dispute between the Dodger and Ted Vernon. According to Wikipedia:

Brooklyn assigned a few players to Miami that (1946) season but the team was actually run by Ted Vernon of Amarillo, Texas. When it was discovered that the Miami Baseball Club Inc. had turned the reigns of the operation of the club to Mr. Vernon, W. G. Bramham, the President of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues, sent a very stern letter to the Miami baseball officials that the rules had been violated in this matter. The next year the Dodgers moved their franchise to Ponca City, Oklahoma and Mr. Vernon returned to Amarillo.

And Miami ended up a farm team to a farm team. They became the Miami Owls, contracted to the Topeka Owls, who were themselves a class C team. Despite their apparent low status, they actually won the league championship in 1947!

In 1949, the Owls lost a tight game thanks largely to the power of the Independence Yanks’ Mickey Mantle.

The league kept going, and in 1950, the Owls became the Eagles, an independent team. But the end was near. After the 1952 season, the KOM League, and all of its teams, folded.

Nowadays, with team payrolls averaging many millions of dollars, minor league towns tend to be much higher populated for the few franchises available. Classes B, C, and D are extinct. But Miami can boast of not only having a professional team, they were also champions of their league.

Miami Owls jersey worn by Kenneth Gladhill